In a bid to attract more online shoppers to its secondhand shop, the online consignment store Twice is today introducing a new program that will allow consumers to trade in their unused gift cards from nearly two dozen retailers in exchange for store credit. That means shoppers will be able to use their cards from stores like Macy's, J.Crew, Gap, Old Navy, Luluemon, Banana Republic and many more in order to buy items on Twice. The company says the cards can hold any amount, and consumers will receive 100% of their value as store credit on its site. For those with unused gift cards from stores with pricier merchandise, using the cards on Twice instead means you may be able to take home more items when you check out. For instance, a $50 J.Crew gift card might only get you one or two items at best, but on Twice, it could go much further. The online store, a competitor to other web-based secondhand retailers like The RealReal or ThredUP, for example, as well as peer-to-peer marketplaces like Poshmark or Threadflip, first launched in 2012 and now has a million users on its network. The site today hosts around 50,000 pieces of inventory from a number of mid-to-high end brands, including clothing, handbags, and shoes. Twice also expanded into menswear last month, and the category now accounts for 5%-10% of all its sales, the company says. Like many secondhand shops, Twice positions itself to consumers as both a way to clean out your closet in exchange for a percentage of the sales of your items, as well as a way to shop online for vetted secondhand goods. But unlike some in the space, Twice's users don't have to manage the selling process for themselves. They just ship their potential merchandise to Twice and the company inventories, photographs, and sells the goods on their behalf. To try out the new gift card trade-in feature, customers will first choose the appropriate merchant from a drop-down tab, enter in their gift card number and the card's PIN. The screen will then show the available balance on the card, and customers will agree to transfer this balance to Twice either by logging into the site or signing up with a new account. That credit becomes immediately available to use, Twice says. The feature is a clever way to tap into the growing number of unused gift cards on the market, while also potentially bringing in new users to Twice's online store. Gift card sales have increased to $124 billion in 2014, up from $80 billion just six years ago, and it's expected that around a billion in gift cards will be forgotten, lost or expired by the end of 2015. A number of companies are working to take advantage of this glut of unused cards, including gift card exchange (and mobile app) Raise.com, for example, which offers consumers a way to quickly buy and use a gift card purchased for less than face value while in a store. Similarly with Twice, the idea is to give consumers more reasons to shop and increase conversions, by tapping into a different form of payment. Twice says it partnered with PayGarden on the new addition, and is expecting the feature to bring in tens of thousands weekly as a payout. The full list of supported retailers includes: Adidas, Armani Exchange, Athleta, Banana Republic, Bloomingdale's, Coach, DSW, Express, Gap, Guess, J.Crew, JCPenney, Lands' End, L.L.Bean, Lululemon, Macy's, New York & Co, Nike, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, The North Face, and Victoria's Secret.
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